With a history dating back to 1955, the establishment is one of Wrightsville Beach’s classic destination, and this Thursday, July 13, will mark a new milestone for the Palm Room.
However, it won’t be celebrated much by Curt and Katherine Pryor, who will mark one year of ownership of the beachside bar next to Johnnie Mercer’s Pier best known for its live music.
“We’ll be open and I’ll be working,” said Katherine, during a Tuesday 7 p.m. shift change with her husband Curt, coming in for the evening while she takes their two children home.
After one year of operating the Palm Room, the longtime Wrightsville Beach bar tenders said that even though the bar is still a “work in progress,” the two are committed to the venture that they described as a dream come true.
“Owning my own business is something I’ve always wanted to do,” Katherine Pryor said. “We’re very involved and hands on.”
Curt Pryor said that while they are focused on providing the same neighborhood bar experience that has created many regulars over the decades, the goal is to build the Palm Room into a bigger draw for bands from across the country.
“It’s the only real venue in Wrightsville Beach,” said Curt Pryor. “It’s a place that musicians like to play.”
The Pryors bought the Palm Room from former owner Danny McLeod last year, assuming ownership on July 13. For them, it was an opportunity to transition out of their first attempt at owning a business together, Siena Italian restaurant on Masonboro Loop Road. The two had gotten to McLeod, a regular patron there, and in them he found someone to take ownership of the Palm Room.
Getting back behind the bar was natural for the Pryors, as each worked at Lagerheads for many years. In fact, it’s where the met, as Katherine, who worked there for a dozen years, many as the manager, served Curt drinks there. He later joined the team and six years ago, they were married.
Curt Pryor said that the drawing regional and national bands will be a challenge, as most of the crowds come out for the local bands that they know.
“It’s risky, trying to introduce something new to the market,” Pryor said.
So far, the venue has brought acts like Nikki Hill from New Orleans, Emprie Strikes Brass from Asheville, Urban Soil from Raleigh and Danger Muffin from South Carolina.
Pryor said he also believes the opening of the restaurant in the the vacant establishment next store will help improve business.
The Palm Room will feature local band Sibilant Sounds on Friday and Chit Nasty from Raleigh on Saturday.